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Week 8 Recap (Details following Top 10 analysis)
- No upset week.
- Butch Jones replaced at Tennessee.
- Ticket prices crash at Alabama and Texas.
- Luck of Irish.
- USC offensive line misses plane.
- FSU’s Jimbo Fisher breaks down in tears.
- Arkansas’ Brett Bielema challenges Joey Chestnut.
- Hot dog beats Houston.
- West Virginia’s Holgorsen on strike for pay raise.
- Gentle Giant hurt.
- Mike Leach straightens out Luke Falk.
- Heisman talk.
Top 10 Analysis
No. 1 Alabama / Tennessee 45 – 7 Since Tennessee has devolved into being a community college level team, nothing was learned or accomplished from the scrimmage that took place in Bryant Denny stadium. The efficient workman-like Crimson Tide simply and quietly played one down at a time and scored 6 TD’s and a field goal, while slipping enough to allow the Baby-Back Razorbacks to score one time. Alabama needs to schedule some games against the Big 10 or ACC if they ever want to lift their game to another level. The SEC is crumbling, perhaps because of the Crimson Tide’s perpetual dominance.
No. 2 Penn State / Michigan 42 – 13 The White-out worked! Michigan was overwhelmed from the first minute of play. The 110,000 fans, nearly all in white, suffocated the Wolverines with noise all night. It didn’t take very long for head coach James Franklin to rebuild the Nittany Lions into a fearsome force. After the severe sanctions that the NCAA put on PSU after the Jerry Sandusky debacle, no one thought that Happy Valley would be happy for a long time. Now they have a juggernaut built that will withstand the challenge from any team that this correspondent has seen so far this year, and everybody is happy! There is constant chatter about running back and special teams receiver Saquon Barkley as the leading Heisman candidate. I’m not quite on his bandwagon yet, although I admit he is an explosive star. To me it is rather puzzling that Lamar Alexander is hardly being considered as a repeat candidate. His numbers are once again phenomenal. It appears to me that there is a prejudice against Alexander for two reasons. First is that many people thought that after his slight meltdown in the last 3 games last year, Deshaun Watson deserved to win. Second, Louisville doesn’t win enough. Forgive my digression. this is about Penn State. Another reason I am not yet on the Saquon Barkley train is because I see Trace McSorley, the Nittany Lion QB, as a leading candidate himself. He is a field general that does all the right things over and over again. He scored 3 TD’s and threw for another. He led the offense to rack-up over 500 yds against a defense many considered to be the best in college football. This lad is a winner, and without him, Penn State would have at least one loss this season, maybe two. Without Barkley, I think they would still be undefeated.
No. 3 Georgia Bye week.
No. 4 TCU / Kansas 43 – 0 Much like the Alabama game, nothing was accomplished here. The hapless one-win Jayhawks barely put up a fight, so the game was simply a way for the Horned Reptiles to stretch their legs, work on their timing, and prepare for next week when they travel to Ames, IA. The resurgent Cyclones of Iowa State, who beat Texas Tech yesterday, to go along with their win over Oklahoma, are now an unexpected force in the Big 12.
No. 5 Wisconsin / Maryland 38 – 13 Wisconsin is so old fashion in their style of play that it is quaint. Knute Rockne would be pleased to see how they play football. Pound the ball up the middle, rush the passer, tackle properly. They do the fundamentals correctly play after play. No fireworks, no acrobatics, just in-your-face hard nose football. Yesterday their longest pass completion was 30 yds. and their longest run from scrimmage was 20 yds. That is pretty unusual for a Top 5 team. Alex Hornibrook was steadfast and efficient. He threw for 225 yds on 16 for 24 passing with 2 TD’s and one INT. Although his longest pass was for only 30 yds, his average completion was for 14 yds. So, he isn’t just dumping-off short throws to the flat. The Badger defense held the Turtles to 104 yds in the air, and 143 on the ground. Not many games are won with those paltry stats. Can’t wait until Wisconsin takes on Ohio State or Penn State.
No. 6 Ohio State Bye week.
No. 7 Clemson Bye Week.
No. 8 Miami / Syracuse 27 – 19 The U notched another groove in the win column with a slightly shaky win on a slippery grass field in Miami. The Orangemen, fresh from the upset of year against Clemson last week, were trying to establish themselves as more than a one-win wonder. They tried hard, and they showed that they are a developing team, but they will have to keep relishing that win against the Tigers as their defining moment. The Hurricanes played a steady game in which they led throughout, and the home field advantage was probably the deciding factor in their win. The normally sure-handed Ahmmon Richards dropped 4 passes early, which slowed the Hurricane momentum. Richards and Dungey both provided the best film clips of hurdling defenders that we have seen in a while. Richards showed highly technical hurdling form, while Dungey simply jumped high in the air and almost knocked his defenders head off. Miami is now in the picture for year-end honors, but they have a few tough games to get past, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame on Nov 4 and 11 will define their season. No excuses for them, as both games will be played at home.
No. 9 Oklahoma / Kansas State 42-35 There were no upsets in the top 10 this week, but this was one of two near-upsets. 78 yr old head coach Bill Snyder had his Cougars playing flawless ball to build a 21-7 lead in the first half. But, leave it to the irrepressible and flamboyant “Brash Baker” Mayfield to light-up the sky with 32 for 41 passing and 410 yds, and dance the jitterbug for 2 rushing TD’s to lead the Sooners to a win with only 7 seconds left. Kansas State kept answering the Sooners, but they barely fell short. Alex Delton, the sophomore QB for K State starting in only his second game, played masterfully. He was 12 for 14 throwing for I TD and 142 yds. He had 144 yds rushing and 3 TD’s also. Poor old Bill, he was really despondent after the game. Afterall, how many chances will he get to avenge this loss in Manhattan?
No. 10 Oklahoma State / Texas 13-10 Overtime Playing in Austin, TX Tom Herman tried to show why the administration at Texas lured him away from Houston. Well, he is trying, although his efforts keep falling a little bit short nearly every week this year. His stout defense put an end to the Cowboy’s relentless scoring habits though. And Mike Gundy, The Cowboys head coach, was so shaken by not being able to freely move the ball, that he opted to go for a field goal on 4th and 1 late in the game, and deep in the Longhorns territory, playing it safe and going for the tie. Wow, what a reversal of tactics! If not for the sometimes shaky decisions that young Texas QB Sam Ehlinger made, and his mis-reads of defenses, and his failure to see open receivers, and his inexplicable OT interception throw, The Longhorns would be boasting of their victory today. He is young, and he can develop, but you can’t replay losses.
Now the rest of the Report
No upset week. This happens every year. After a week or two of turmoil during mid-season, last week especially, the standings settle-in for some slow-moving on the Top 10 and Top 25 charts. There were NO upsets in the Top 25. That is really not incredible. It happens most years. A few scares did occur, like No. 9 Oklahoma, No. 10 Oklahoma State, No. 23 West Virginia, and No. 25 Memphis. But, that is all.
Butch Jones replaced at Tennesse. Tennessee Head Coach Butch Jones was unceremoniously fired today by athletic director John Currie. Mark Whipple, head coach of U Mass, which won its first game of the year this week and 12th game in 10 years, was introduced by Currie on Twitter. Currie said that any coach that can win with U Mass is a lot better than who we have at Tennessee. The tweets have since been deleted.
Ticket prices crash at Alabama and Texas. The prices for tickets at Bryant Denny Stadium this week for the Tennessee game were widely publicised for sale at $5. Tickets in Austin, TX for the Oklahoma State game were $2. Although prices for Penn State / Michigan were $240, and USC / Notre Dame $135. It appears to this correspondent that Alabama and Texas football are considered boring. One for winning too easily, and one for losing too easily.
Luck of Irish. One might think that the Luck of the Irish has finally returned to the Notre Dame football team lately. Head coach Brian Kelly says: ” Heck no”! They aren’t any luckier than Dreamers waiting to be deported from the USA. He says winning comes from hard work and the hundreds of millions of dollars that Notre Dame spends on its football program. Good advice there for anyone that is listening!
USC offensive line misses plane. The USC offensive line was so excited about Sam Darnold’s mother giving them a duffel bag full of chocolate chip cookies, and then devouring them in the LAX airport terminal, that they missed the team flight to South Bend . There was great confusion as what to do, because head coach Clay Helton confiscated their cell-phones two days before the big game, so that none of them could Tweet. Finally one of the big guys asked a Sky Cap what to do. For $50 the Sky Cap told them to go to a ticket counter and book tickets on another flight. They got to the stadium in time for the second half. In the first half, with the second string line blocking for the running backs, USC compiled a modern-day record of MINUS 5 yds rushing. Game was over before the big guys suited-up. Sam Darnold can’t beat Notre Dame alone.
FSU’s Jimbo Fisher breaks down in tears. After the heart-breaking, and avoidable, last-minute loss to Louisville at empty Doak Campbell stadium, a fan yelled at Jimbo Fisher to fire somebody. Jimbo was so shattered by the loss, which will prevent FSU from going to a bowl game for the first time since 1982, that he broke-down in tears and begged the fan to stop picking on him and his team. He sobbed that they were trying real hard, and that they all needed love, not heckling. The fan then apologized and they hugged.
Arkansas’ Brett Bielema challenges Joey Chestnut. After rotund head coach Brett Bielema’s challenge to Sumo champion Akinori was rebuked, coach Bielema challenged the 10-time Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Champion, Joey Chestnut, to a duel in Fayetteville. There is no doubt that Bielema has been practicing for this previously unannounced challenge all year, instead of preparing his team for its games.
Hot Dog beats Houston. Another stupid penalty, this time “Taunting” by Garrett Davis of Houston, paved the way for an important momentum-saving TD to help the Memphis Tigers overcome a 17-0 halftime deficit, and beat Houston 42-38. After a first half of sleep-walking, Riley Ferguson cranked-up the Memphis offense to score 6 TD’s in the second half. Riley threw for 471 yds on 33 for 53 passing. Memphis only added 30 yds rushing, but it was enough to best Houston’s balanced attack of 239 rushing and 315 passing.
West Virginia’s Holgorsen on strike for pay raise. Dana Holgorsen, head coach of West Virginia is mad! He stated to our associate in Waco, home of the one-win Baylor Bears, that he was going to teach the university president and board of trustees a lesson. Dana is sick and tired of only getting paid $70,000 per week. He said how could he live like a head coach if there were still 3rd world countries with a GDP larger than his salary? So, he stopped coaching in the fourth quarter, and Baylor scored 23 unanswered points to almost pull off the upset. If not for a missed two-point conversion, Baylor would have tied the game with 17 seconds left. The Mountaineers had 4 drives of less than 2 minutes in the fourth quarter, not trying to score, run the clock out, or protect their lead. It was a deliberate attempt by Holgorsen to throw the game. The NCAA has refused to comment if there will be an investigation into this farce.
Gentle Giant hurt. Fan favorite, 6’9″ 370 lb Gentle Giant, Cody O’Connell of Washington State was helped off the field in Pullman, WA early this morning during the rebirth of the Cougars. We will monitor his progress for you. He is the modern-day Paul Bunyan.
Mike Leach straightens out Luke Falk. Washington State held the Buffalos from Colorado to only 157 yds total offense, and shut them out 28-0. Mike Leach straightened out the “off-the-rails” performance that Wazzou showed last week in their miserable collapse vs. California. The most important thing he did was tell his QB, Luke Falk, to only throw the ball to players that had the same color uniform on that he was wearing. It worked! Luke said afterward: “Why didn’t you tell me that last week coach?”
Heisman Talk. Everybody loves to talk Heisman this time of year. It becomes more of an advertising campaign than a real analysis. This site has made numerous comments regarding this matter, and we stand on our comments and warnings. The first thing that we remind ourselves each day, and we suggest you try to emulate, is to not get too hyped by the process. Let’s let the season unfold, and surely one to three candidates will sift through the data and cyber-noise to emerge as the best football player in the nation. When it happens, we will all know who it is, even if we won’t admit it, muuch like happened last year. Lamar Jackson rightfully won, even though everyone wanted Deshaun Watson to win.